I received one of the biggest compliments of my life a little while ago. It came from the mom of one of Jack’s classmates. I don’t know her very well but she volunteers a lot in the kindergarten class and so she and Jack know each other quite well. After a parking lot exchange, where it really did feel like we had shared our hearts in that gluttonous 6 minutes of in-between-things time, I received this email:
“You are so very sweet and kind… Not hard to figure out how come Jack has such a kind heart.”
To be compared to Jack is truly the most amazing thing ever. For those of you who don’t get to spend every day with this boy, here is why. Jack is smart. Wicked smart. The kind of smart that sneaks up on you because it’s like his brain has been busy figuring out the world while you were wondering if his socks match. Language and math (certainly a language as well) are his specialties. That might have something to do with his environment…because he’s also fascinated by space and sharks and timelines and video games and hockey. But lots of kids are smart. Jack’s secret superpower is his heart. This kid is generous beyond anything I’ve ever known. The examples I could offer of this phenomenon are endless. But allow me just this one. Today is Jack’s birthday and his first gift was this:
Sugar cereals are not common in our house so this was an extraordinary treat for Jack. When I asked which cereals he was going to choose this morning, he said “I don’t know yet. Kate, which one do you want?” Seriously, this kid makes me well up with tears almost every day of his life. His ability to think of others, to understand where they are coming from and then love them fiercely right in that place is beyond special. His heart is soft and caring and real. This also means his heart is vulnerable which worries me sometimes. Because he finds change and critique and unkindness very, very hard. He’s learned how to say though that his heart hurts and we try to walk through those hurts together because as much as he understands people, he can’t understand why people choose to be mean.
I don’t have any clue what Jack’s life has in store for him. I do know that whatever path he chooses, those who walk with him will be blessed beyond measure by his light. If you were to ask Jack what he wants to do when he’s a bit older, he’d probably tell you he wants to be a goalie for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s chosen the Penguins as his team so that neither Daddy, a Leafs fan, nor Mommy, a Habs fan, get their feelings hurt.